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CBD, an ally in the management of lung cancer?

As more and more physical and online stores offer cannabidiol (or CBD) for sale in recent months, research continues to determine whether this naturally occurring compound in cannabis has therapeutic benefits.

In addition to its relaxing and sleep-enhancing effects, studies have found that CBD may be effective against lung damage caused by Covid-19 infection or delay the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, which cause Alzheimer’s disease.

In an article published in BMJ Case Reports, researchers suggest that CBD oil could be used as a potential treatment for lung disease.

A 76% decrease in tumor diameter

The cannabinoids found in CBD oil can interact with signaling pathways in cells, including cancer cells. Although other studies have shown conflicting results about their effectiveness as a primary treatment for cancer, this new work is encouraging.

It results from the follow-up of an 80-year-old patient diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. She also suffered from mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), osteoarthritis and high blood pressure. She was a smoker and consumed more than a pack of cigarettes per week (68 packs per year).

At the time of diagnosis, the patient’s lung tumor measured 41 mm and could be treated conventionally with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. But the woman refused treatment. So she was placed under surveillance, with regular CT scans every 3 to 6 months.

The scans showed that the tumor was gradually shrinking, from 41 mm in June 2018 to 10 mm in February 2021, an overall reduction of 76 percent of the maximum diameter.

When contacted in 2019 to discuss her progress, the woman revealed that she had been taking CBD oil as an alternative self-treatment for her lung cancer since August 2018, shortly after her initial diagnosis: 0.5 ml of oil, usually three times a day, but sometimes two.

Other than loss of appetite, no other side effects have been reported. The patient also made no changes to her prescribed medications, diet or lifestyle. And she continued to smoke throughout.

More research needed

The researchers caution that this article is not a clinical trial. It is only a case report, with only one other similar case reported. They explain that they don’t yet know exactly what ingredients in CBD oil may have been effective in decreasing the size of the tumor. “Although there appears to be a relationship between CBD oil intake and the observed tumor regression, we are not able to conclusively confirm that the tumor regression was due to the patient’s intake of CBD oil.”

“Further research is needed to identify the actual mechanism of action, routes of administration, safe dosages, its effects on different types of cancer, and any potential adverse side effects when using cannabinoids,” they conclude.